On Thursday, KXT Sun Sets will feature Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear and Charley Crockett on the roof of Dallas Power & Light.
Texas-born Charley Crockett opens on Thursday. The up-and-coming sensation is a favorite of KXT’s Program Director Amy Miller. She describes him as an artist who lives up to his hype: “Crockett’s throwback sound is a blend of blues, New Orleans jazz and soul,” she tells NPR’s Heavy Rotation.
Crockett, a descendant of Davy Crockett, has roots in deep South Texas, but he’s been all over with his music. After moving to Dallas in middle school and spending his teenage years playing in Deep Ellum, he took off to the streets of New Orleans. Since then, he’s spent time everywhere from the hills of Northern California to the New York City subways. Travel, he says, is his inspiration.
“I’ve picked up everything I know from traveling,” he says. “It’s nonstop inspiration when you’re always moving.”
He says that he’s met many travelers on the road who come from “dark places” in America. They’re young, aspiring artists trying to break out of their “decaying” suburbs. For Crockett, the time he spends performing in cities is exciting, but he’s a rural person.
“I’m a country person at heart, who had to come to the city to get my music on,” he says. “I love performing in places like New York City, but in the end, I want to go back out on the farm.”
He’s currently hoping to start a sustainable farm in Northern California. Still, his roots in Dallas bring him back to the city time and time again — his mother still lives here, and he feels a connection to the city’s musical past, particularly in Deep Ellum. Every time he returns, he sees the city’s art scene expanding even further, and that “cultural renaissance” excites him.
“If you’re trying to make music,” he says, “there’s as much opportunity in Dallas-Fort Worth as anywhere in America.”
Tune into World Cafe at 10 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, July 26) to hear more and read a KXT Q&A with Crockett.
Also playing on Thursday evening is Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear. Madisen Ward is a singer-songwriter and guitarist who plays and sings alongside his mother, Ruth Ward. The duo hails from Independence, Mo. and released their debut album, “Skeleton Crew,” in May 2015. They’ve played at Bonnaroo and the Newport Folk Festival and taken the stage with the Tallest Man on Earth and Sufjan Stevens, among others.
He says much of their work is fictional and “outlandish.” It’s also charming and intimate: producer Jimmy Abbiss (Adele, Arctic Monkeys) adds few frills.
“There was a certain kind of sound that I wanted to make sure that we were staying true to, a certain organic rawness that I wanted to maintain,” Madisen Ward told Rolling Stone Country. “[Instead] of studying a lot of other musicians and using other formats. I just wanted to capture the music in its most raw, natural state. And I feel like that was always kind of our goal.”
See the full 2016 Sun Sets lineup at kxt.org. Tickets become available one week prior to each show.